I try to target my ramblings toward the Saturday crowd. If we are expecting a snowstorm, I won't bother talking about how nice and sunny it is as I'm writing.

In this particular case, you should be enjoying a "warm-enough" spring day after having just endured a pretty lousy week of weather. We are in mud season after all so it was to be expected. Suffice it to say, spring is on the way. Yes, we all know there is the imminent threat of that April snow, but at this point we can handle it.

Every year, the spring season brings with it a new "crop" of homes for sale and this year (we're hoping) will be no different. The agents and brokers love to see the new inventory so they can better service their buyers and the buyers benefit from the new bounty of choices they have. The trick, from the seller's side, is to make your home stand out above the rest and make that solid first impression. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

One of the more commonly overlooked areas of the home are the light fixtures both inside and out. There are usually a bevy of little critters that have made your overhead light or porch lamp their home for the season.

While you are up there and have them apart, take the extra minute to use some glass cleaner and make them shine. Let's be honest, you're not going to do this again next year and if you sell the home, you'll never have to do this again!

Staying on the outside of the house, make sure your mailbox and front door (and garage door for that matter) are clean and well painted. This is a great time to touch-up those trouble spots or just repaint the whole surface. This is one of those great DIY projects that offer a great ROI for very little effort.

Also, take a peek at your house numbers. The brain surgeons that painted my house last summer re-nailed my numbers upside down. I became "19" instead of "16." Make sure your numbers are easily seen from the street and in good condition. We don't want to make the pizza guy guess.

"I always remind my sellers about the importance of that first impression," Badger Realty agent Don Lapointe said. "The garage door, front door and other street-facing walls literally are the first thing a buyer sees. Why wouldn't you want that area to be perfect?"

Get the porch, driveway and patio free from "debris" as well. Sweep up the leaves from last fall and any big piles of dirt left over from the sand truck. Although not the most environmentally friendly thing to do, hosing down the driveway will create a neat, clean look as well. My dad loves this project.

Growing up, our driveway was always spotless. Be careful with attacking your lawn too early with a rake though. Although this is a great way to "cleanup" the yard and improve the looks of the house, you can damage your lawn by raking too early in the season. Check with your favorite garden center in the valley to see if it is safe.

If you are feeling adventurous, grab the ladder and make sure there are no damaged shingles up on the roof. This is also a great time to clean out those gutters and make any repairs or re-connections to ensure everything is flowing correctly. Who knows, you might even find that lost Frisbee from last summer.

Since we're focusing on projects outside of the house, this is a great time to spend some time in the garage. If you are like me, you simply park the truck and head into the house all winter long. The sand, salt and slush just falls on the floor and creates a heck of a mess throughout the winter. Take this opportunity to sweep, clean, hose-out, or whatever is necessary to get the garage looking sharp. If the weather is nice enough, you can even spend an hour or so organizing and sorting.

Shovels, sleds, snow blowers and other winter items can be put up over-head or stored back in the shed. If your grill is in storage, this is a great time to get this out and make it more accessible. Patio furniture and even items for your pool are good candidates to be taken out of storage now as well. This not only gives the outside of the home a more friendly and welcoming appearance, but it makes the shed and garage much more roomy and clean looking.

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a huge fan of spring cleaning. I use this time to cull out any clothes I haven't worn and any appliances or other items around the house that simply do not get used. It is a great time of cleansing and a great opportunity to make your house shine when it first hits the market. We're excited about the ongoing strengthening of the real estate market in the Mount Washington Valley and are looking forward to a busy season.

Jason Robie works for Badger Realty.

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